How about a book review section?

Discuss anything you like about chess related matters in this forum.
Geoff Chandler
Posts: 2412
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:36 pm
Location: Under Cover
Contact:

Re: How about a book review section?

Post by Geoff Chandler » Sun Dec 29, 2013 1:36 pm

I think Ian Marks may have been hinting that there is a grade snobbery when buying a book.
If it's not got a GM's name on the cover then forget it.
Ian was suggesting you look past this and forget S.G's is not a GM.

"A very rich comment from a reviewer who has yet to breach the 2000 threshold..."
Last time I looked Ian Marks was over 2000+.

I have a grade snobbery in reverse when it comes to reading reviews.
GM's do not have the time to read books and are often chummy with the writer.
You get these kiss ass reviews for a naff book.

A normal punter review from a day job guy who has forked out the hard cash.
I want to hear what he has to say. I'd listen to what that guy has to say.

I have a few Steve Giddins books, I would not hesitate in recommending any of them.
Alas I cannot say the same for quite a few GM books.
A good chess player who can actually write and write instructively is very rare indeed.

Chris Rice
Posts: 3139
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:17 am

Re: How about a book review section?

Post by Chris Rice » Sun Dec 29, 2013 3:02 pm

Geoff Chandler wrote:
"A very rich comment from a reviewer who has yet to breach the 2000 threshold..."
Last time I looked Ian Marks was over 2000+.
Just so we're clear Geoff the only Ian Marks on the Elo grading list I found was http://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml?event=2401983 he isn't over 2000+ and never has been? if its a Scottish rating then fair enough but Ian did use an Elo rating in his review.

Apart from that I agree pretty much with everything else you say. For what its worth as a club player myself I think their point of view is valuable as they will, as Jonathan B points out above, understand other club player struggles.

User avatar
Joey Stewart
Posts: 1224
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 2:35 pm
Location: All Of Them
Contact:

Re: How about a book review section?

Post by Joey Stewart » Sun Dec 29, 2013 3:09 pm

I have always thought it is not the depth of the material but HOW it is presented that makes a good book.

For example when you see whole pages such as:

35.Ng5!? (35.f4 g6 {...Bc5 36.Qb3 a6 37.Nd5 +-} 36.f5 gxf5 27.Rxf5) h6 37.Qg3

Garbage like this, ripped directly from a computer, would make me instantly put a book down - I dont want to have to be puzzling over whether the moves I am playing are the correct ones or some sort of side line which has been shoved in to bulk up the word count.


Whereas if I see the likes of:

1.e4 c5

2.d4 (p13)
Nc3 (p35)
Nf3 (p90)


Here,I will be inclined to read further on - a chess book should cover relevant positions and explain why the moves are being played, but also be presented in a way that does not look like a bad day on the scrabble board.
Lose one queen and it is a disaster, Lose 1000 queens and it is just a statistic.

Geoff Chandler
Posts: 2412
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:36 pm
Location: Under Cover
Contact:

Re: How about a book review section?

Post by Geoff Chandler » Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:04 pm

Hi Chris,

Ian could not have used the ECF list. Steve Giddins is not on it!

Poor Carl.
He will be sitting there with his hands in his head.

The New Section (what ever it will be called) has not even started and already there are arguments. :)

Edit:

Hi Joey,

One thing I first look for is the names of the players and the games uses.
Authors use the same games time and time again copying each others notes.
Not word for word in RDK fashion, they change the text but basically it's the same note.
God knows how many times I've seen Karpov's 24.Nb1 v Spassky, Leningrad Candidates 1974.

Chris Rice
Posts: 3139
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:17 am

Re: How about a book review section?

Post by Chris Rice » Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:51 pm

I said Ian used the Elo list for Steve Giddins

http://ratings.fide.com/search.phtml?se ... =0&front=1

Never said a word about the ECF list. I do hope we're not upsetting Carl during this festive period.

User avatar
Christopher Kreuzer
Posts: 7597
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:34 am
Location: London

Re: How about a book review section?

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:29 pm

It might be an idea, if this is implemented, to keep some separation between the reviews and the comments on the reviews. Maybe like having a locked thread for the review, or a separate layout, and then a comments thread. There are downsides to having the review be the first post in the thread.

Ian Marks
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:10 pm

Re: How about a book review section?

Post by Ian Marks » Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:40 pm

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your comments on my review of Steve Giddins’s book on the Winawer. It is always good to get feedback. Although you have put down your shovel, may I just respond to a few of your comments?

‘Some inference that as a guy rated currently 2188 Giddins isn't fit to write a book. A very rich comment from a reviewer who has yet to breach the 2000 threshold.’

Since you raise the matter, my current CS rating is 2040, admittedly down a bit from the 2112 of earlier this year, but still clear water. Granted, my FIDE rating is a paltry 1985, but hey, cut off my tail feathers and call me baldy for 15 points. Presumably your 2014 gives you insights denied to me. Anyway, numbers aside, if you read on in the review you’ll see why I think Giddins was eminently suited to write such a book. You’re the one who did the inferring.

‘Not enough coverage of sidelines? Does anyone really want to see more lines covering 4 exd5 and 4 Bd3?’

Well, I’ve spoken to enough ‘club players’ to believe that, yes, they do, but maybe that’s just the ones I talk to. Maybe the ones you talk to are different.

‘There is a typo in the index with ...Ne7 being duplicated. Can one blame the author for this?’

I didn’t blame him; he deserved better. It’s symptomatic of carelessness on the part of the publisher. You’re surely not suggesting that we turn a blind eye to sloppiness?

‘Then there is the criticism that the move order with 4...Ne7 isn't mentioned soon enough. Really? That's a valid criticism is it? Just as an aside, the reason 4...Ne7 is a better idea is gone into in some depth by Simon Williams in his Killer French DVDs.’

So a purchaser of Giddins’s book would have to shell out for a set of DVDs to get the explanation that Giddins could at least have alluded to! (By the way, Giddins seems not to have referenced those DVDs, judging by the bibliography.)

‘Then finally we have 'Giddins having a pot shot at Uhlmann'. This is another example of not reading the book properly.’

Not only did I read the book, I cross-checked it with other current works on the subject, including the latest edition (2006) of Uhlmann’s own German work (which, once again, Giddins doesn’t seem to have consulted, having made do with only the 1991 edition). If you want to have a go at people for not reading books, you could do worse that train your sights on the author. If Steve did refer to these materials, he should have said so. We can only infer that he didn’t.

‘What the author was trying to convey is that Uhlmann worked out most of what Black should be doing a long time ago but obviously his games wouldn't stand up to modern day computer scrutiny.’

You truly are blessed with psychic powers! First you can tell that I didn’t read the book and now you’re reading both Giddins’s and Uhlmann’s minds! Next time I see Uhlmann I’ll ask if Steve discussed what to convey, then we’ll know. Sorted.

Anyway, thanks again for your illuminating comments. Book reviews are merely one man’s or woman’s views. Nothing says you have to agree with, or even like, any of them, including mine. I call books as I find them, even if some people think that low-rated numpties like me aren’t fit for task.

All the best,

Ian

Ray Sayers

Re: How about a book review section?

Post by Ray Sayers » Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:24 pm

Maybe NOT have a book review section, eh, if it is going to be like this?

Chris Rice
Posts: 3139
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:17 am

Re: How about a book review section?

Post by Chris Rice » Sun Dec 29, 2013 9:07 pm

Agreed, not much point keep going backwards and forwards like this.

Ian's obviously got the hump but no disrespect was meant. I just call it as I see it as well. Certainly he's not a low-rated numpty (perhaps I should say we are not low-rated numpties) and whether I agree with him or not he's perfectly entitled to say what he likes on any book or subject.

Geoff Chandler
Posts: 2412
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:36 pm
Location: Under Cover
Contact:

Re: How about a book review section?

Post by Geoff Chandler » Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:59 am

"Maybe NOT have a book review section, eh, if it is going to be like this?"

Why not?

That was a perfectly amicable discussion. Handshake at the end.

Or books we'd like to see.
I think an updated version RDK's 'Learn from the Grandmasters' is due.
The one game that inspired them and what they consider was their best game.
'Learn from the English Grandmasters' there are enough of them with different styles for a mixed read.

User avatar
JustinHorton
Posts: 8266
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:06 am
Location: Somewhere you're not

Re: How about a book review section?

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:34 am

Geoff Chandler wrote:I think an updated version RDK's 'Learn from the Grandmasters' is due.
He's updating it all the time.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

User avatar
Carl Hibbard
Posts: 5864
Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:05 pm
Location: Evesham

Re: How about a book review section?

Post by Carl Hibbard » Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:10 am

Geoff Chandler wrote:Poor Carl.
He will be sitting there with his hands in his head.
:roll:
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

Steve Rooney
Posts: 426
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:36 pm
Location: Church Stretton

Re: How about a book review section?

Post by Steve Rooney » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:24 am

Are we sitting comfortably? Shall we start again ...

I was very patient and waited for Father Christmas to bring me Keith Arkell's book. I can tell you it was certainly worth the wait. Arkell's Odyessey is an extraordinary book, in my opinion. Keith writes very candidly about his career and personal life giving the reader a real insight into what makes him tick, and some clues as to how he approaches the game. The annotations are simple and precise and, more often than not, written in a way that recalls how he was thinking at the time of the game in question, rather than cold computer-assisted analysis and hindsight.

I have only put the book down long enough to try and bring this thread back to great books. If you haven't got a copy of Arkell's Odyessey already, I would thoroughly recommend that you buy it now.

By the way, Keith's brother Nick who gets plenty of name-checks in the book is playing at the Shropshire Congress this weekend along with two of the next generation of Arkells.

You can too - still a few days to enter! And hopefully Chess & Bridge will have copies of Keith's book so that you can buy it there on Sunday.

Barry Sandercock
Posts: 1356
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:52 am

Re: How about a book review section?

Post by Barry Sandercock » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:50 am

I agree. Arkell's Odyssey is a fascinating book and well worth reading.

Chris Rice
Posts: 3139
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:17 am

Re: How about a book review section?

Post by Chris Rice » Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:00 pm

Agreed. Rattling read and quite a unique book. I hope Mark Hebden might write one himself one day.

Post Reply